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March 2021 Newsletter

Dear Knowledge Network members,  

It has been a full year since the pandemic came crashing down upon us, closing most of the nation's schools. As of the end of March, we finally see significant declines in the numbers of Covid-19 cases. 

This is a good moment to express our appreciation for the remarkable efforts of the scientists who have brought us vaccines to fight covid-19, the tireless work of our healthcare workers who kept so many loved ones from perishing, and a special shout out to our educators and parents who performed extraordinarily to provide instruction during these trying times. The fight is certainly not over as many people struggle to meet their family's basic needs, and lest we forget, many nations find themselves still in the grip of the pandemic. 

The reduced infection rates have prompted significant increases in school's reopening, bring new sets of challenges for educators and parents. As schools reopen, teachers and parents will need to observe any gaps in student academic performance resulting from the unprecedented rollout of remote instruction. Teachers will first need to assess each student to determine current achievement levels and adopt practices to bridge gaps in knowledge and skills. To help with the changes that are coming, the Wing Institute has selected Instruction and Pedagogy as the focus for the March newsletter. The research included in this newsletter offers insights into ways teachers can begin to address these imbalances. 

Student Instruction and Pedagogy

Wing Institute Original Work: Effective Instruction Methods
Additional content includes five Wing Institute original papers on teacher induction and a data mining article on the topic of professional development: Student Instruction and Pedagogy Research
This issue contains summaries and access to the following resources: Wing Institute 2021-2022 Student Research Grant 
We are confident that our education system will get through these troubling times and emerge stronger than ever.  

Stay safe,
The Wing Institute

Covid-19 Update

As schools reopen, it is important that critical indicators—the number and growth of Covid-19 related cases, hospitalizations, and deaths—be monitored closely.  The following are the latest updates on these numbers:


  • As of 3/18/21, the total number of children with Covid-19 was 3,341,608, representing 13.3% of all new cases.
  • The percentage of children requiring hospitalization has remained at the same rate of 1.9% for over six months.  The same with the extremely low death rate of .01%.

Wing Institute Original Papers

Instructional Delivery

Instructional competencies are essential practices that teachers must master for effectively instructing students to maximize knowledge and skill acquisition. Research reveals that not all instruction is equal in producing results. For generations, the teacher lecture has been the preferred method of instruction, but studies show it is far less effective than more stimulating active learning practices. We now know that better learning happens in dynamic settings in which teachers offer explicit active instruction that emphasizes student participation and demonstrates the content taught. An explicit approach focuses on well-designed and sequenced lessons linked to “big ideas,” offers ample opportunities for students to respond and practice the lesson content, and includes mastered knowledge or skills in subsequent lessons to maintain learning. Read More

States, J., Detrich, R. & Keyworth, R. (2018). Instructional Delivery. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

Mastery Learning

Mastery learning is an instructional approach that relies on students successfully mastering material before moving on to the next lesson. It has been found to be a very powerful instructional method, with effect sizes ranging from 0.50 to 0.58. Mastery learning requires that instructional materials be sequenced so that instruction builds on what has been previously mastered until the overall learning objectives are mastered. Using formative assessment procedures, teachers frequently assess how each student is progressing toward mastering the objectives in each learning unit. Students who demonstrate competency move on to the next unit. Students may study in groups or alone, working through each unit, but progress is assessed individually. For students who have not mastered the lesson, additional group or individual instruction is provided. Read More

Citation: Guinness, K., Detrich, R., Keyworth, R. & States, J. (2021). Mastery Learning. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

Active Student Responding

Active Student Responding (ASR) is a powerful set of low cost strategies teachers can use to improve student achievement. ASR occurs when a student makes a response by answering questions or responding in a variety of ways that communicates the student’s understanding of the content being taught during the lesson. The more opportunities the student has to respond, the increased likelihood the student is learning. Increasing active responses allows teachers to rapidly assess performance. As opportunities to respond increase so does opportunities for praise and corrective feedback that results in accelerated learning. Read More

Citation: States, J., Detrich, R. & Keyworth, R. (2019). Active Student Responding (ASR) Overview.Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

Formative Assessment

Effective ongoing assessment, referred to in the education literature as formative assessment or progress monitoring, is indispensable in promoting teacher and student success. Feedback through formative assessment is ranked at or near the top of practices known to significantly raise student achievement. For decades, formative assessment has been found to be effective in clinical settings and, more important, in typical classroom settings. Formative assessment produces substantial results at a cost significantly below that of other popular school reform initiatives such as smaller class size, charter schools, accountability, and school vouchers. It also serves as a practical diagnostic tool available to all teachers. A core component of formal and informal assessment procedures, formative assessment allows teachers to quickly determine if individual students are progressing at acceptable rates and provides insight into where and how to modify and adapt lessons, with the goal of making sure that students do not fall behind. Read More

Citation: States, J., Detrich, R. & Keyworth, R. (2017). Overview of Formative Assessment. Oakland, CA: The Wing Institute.

Student Instruction and Pedagogy

What classroom management practices foster learning?

Sustaining and Scaling Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports: Implementation Drivers, Outcomes, and Considerations. Positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) is a system-wide conduct management approach designed to increase student behavior consistency in schools. PBIS was introduced with the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1997. This paper examines the 25-year history of the PBIS implementation experience, including the core features of PBIS as a multi-tiered framework and the process and outcomes for implementing PBIS across over 26,000 schools. Read more

What instructional practices can be leveraged to improve mathematics performance?

Improving Pedagogy in the Developmental Mathematics Classroom. This Brief summarizes a literature review that examines the research evidence concerning a potential means for improving course completion and learning outcomes among developmental math students: reforming mathematics classroom pedagogy. It concludes by offering recommendations for future research and for the adoption of particular instructional practices. Read more

What should educators be aware of when bringing basic reading research to the classroom?

What constitutes a science of reading instruction? For over 20 years the science of reading has fostered policies and instructional practices based on research on the basic cognitive mechanisms of reading, the neural processes involved in reading, computational models of learning to read, and the like. According to those views, such data provide convincing evidence that explicit decoding instruction (e.g., phonological awareness, phonics), nevertheless, progress has been slow in improving student reading achievement. This paper cautions against instructional over- generalizations based on various kinds of basic research without an adequate consideration of instructional experiments. The author provides examples of the missteps arising from the premature translation of basic research findings into wide-scale pedagogical application. Read More

Are Dyslexia reading interventions scientifically based?

Are Scientific Reading Instruction and Dyslexia Interventions the Same? Distinctions for Elementary Education Preparation Programs. Dyslexia is a language-based disability that can hinder the fluent acquisition of reading skills. Dyslexia poses a particular challenge to teachers instructing students in reading. It is estimated that approximately 15%-20% of the population is impacted by dyslexia. This paper compares the tenets of structured literacy, the reading method used in many dyslexia programs, to scientific reading instruction. Directed content analysis of documents relevant to the research topic revealed three themes which accounted for concepts from the National Reading Panel report, Scientific Reading Instruction, and the International Dyslexia Association. Read More

What does research tell us about teaching writing?

Research-Based Writing Practices and the Common Core: Meta-analysis and Meta-synthesis. To meet writing objectives specified in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), many teachers need to make significant changes in how writing is taught. While CCSS identified what students need to master, it did not provide guidance on how teachers are to meet these writing benchmarks. The current article presents research-supported practices that can be used to meet CCSS writing objectives in kindergarten to grade 8. This paper identified these practices by conducting a new meta- analysis of writing intervention studies, which included true and quasi-experiments, as well as single-subject design studies. Read More

How can teachers increase the effectiveness of science instruction?

Effective programs for elementary science: A best-evidence synthesis. This article presents a systematic review of research on the achievement outcomes of all types of approaches to teaching science in elementary schools. The review concludes that science teaching methods focused on enhancing teachers’ classroom instruction throughout the year, such as cooperative learning and science-reading integration, as well as approaches that give teachers technology tools to enhance instruction, have significant potential to improve science learning. Read More

What do we know about remote instruction?

Remote Learning Overview. The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in school closings for the remainder of the year in 48 of 50 states and a sharp turn toward remote instruction in order to finish the year as best as possible. Issues and concerns previously in the background, such as inequitable access to technology including internet access for online learning at home, are now front and center. Districts and states have been exploring creative ways to bridge the digital divide, such as delivering Wi-Fi hotspots and devices to children without technology and internet access, using public television, creating printed packets, and making creative use of the mobile and smartphones that most families in the United States now have.  Read More

What practices can enhance the impact history and social sciences instruction?

The effects of historical reading and writing strategy instruction with fourth-through sixth-grade students. This quasi-experimental study of fourth, fifth, and sixth-grade students explored the use of a cognitive apprenticeship model to teach students historical reading and writing strategies.  These results suggest that with appropriate supports and the opportunity to engage in meaningful historical content, students in fourth through sixth grade can analyze primary and secondary source documents and write evidence-based historical arguments. Read More

Grant RFP

Latest News

March 23, 2021 

Graduate Research Grant 2021 RFP 

The purpose of the Wing Institute Graduate Research Funding Program is to:

  1. Sponsor and promote new research in areas of evidence-based education, including: efficacy research, effectiveness research, implementation, and monitoring
  2. Sponsor and promote new research across disciplines, types of research, and venues
  3. Encourage graduate students to focus their future professional work in this subject area, increasing the number of professionals dedicated to the field of evidence-based education
  4. Disseminate research findings for application in real world” settings, further bridging the gap between research and practice.


Grants vary in size; the maximum grant is $5,000 per annum. These funds will be available to recipients as they achieve agreed upon “benchmarks” in the research process.

Applications available: Immediately
Application deadline: May 15, 2021
Funding decisions: June 15, 2021

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must be enrolled full-time and be in good standing in a masters or doctoral at a regionally accredited university or college.


 Read More

Data Mining

Why is this question important? Principals can have a positive or a negative impact on student performance. We know that the ability of principals to identify which teachers are effective and which are low performing plays an important role in this process. What we are not sure of is, how good are principals in performing this vital assessment? Read More


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